Vietnamese Culture Copyright 1996 Tran Thong Issue 29. The legend of tra^`u cau, ADT. Please direct all questions to firstname.lastname@example.org ==================================================================== Here is the proposed schedule of this column. Issue #1: Tet 1971 in Vietnam! by Phu Si, VB710118 Issue #2: The Unicorn dance at Tet, by Minh Tam, VB710118. Issue #3: The origin of Tao Quan, the three kitchen gods, by George F. Schultz, VB710118. Issue #4: 1971 - The year of the Pig, by Van Ngan, VB710118. Issue #5 The Joy of "first writing of the new year", by Thuy Ngoc, VB710208. Issue #6: Traditional Vietnamese male attire, by Van Ngan, VB710208 Issue #7: The legend of Princess Lieu Hanh, George F. Schultz, VB710215 Issue #8: The dialogue on Mount Na-Son, George F. Schultz, VB710222 Issue #9: The secret housewife, George F. Schultz, VB710301 Issue #10: The golden axe, George F. Schultz, VB710308 Issue #11: Golden age of Viet Nam under the Hung Kings, Pham Tung, TAS720506. Issue #12: The legend of Chu Van Dich, George F Schutlz, VB701221 Issue #13: The sandalwood maiden, George F. Schultz, VB7010?? Issue #14: Legend about Emperor Ly Thai-To, George F Schultz, VB7010?? Issue #15. Chu Dong-Tu and Princess Tien Dung, George F. Schultz, VB701005 Issue #16. The husband's most difficult task: teaching his wife, Van Ngan, VB 691216 Issue #17: Superstition in Viet Nam, Van Ngan, VB6911?? - May 8, 1996. Issue #18: Hair: VN style, VB7007?? - May 15, 1996 Issue #19: Funeral rites in Viet-Nam, Van Ngan, VB7006?? - May 22, 1996. Issue #20: "Non Bai Tho" or the "Poetical Leaf", ???, VB7011??. Issue #21: The different systems of writings in Viet-Nam, ???, VB710201. Issue #22: Vietnamese literature in "Chu Nom", ???, VB710201. Issue #23: The boat of illusion, Nguyet Cam, Heritage Sept/Oct 1995. Issue #24: Tran Hung Dao's proclamation to his officers, George F. Schultz, VB 710201. Issue #25: The refined pleasure of tea-drinking, Tuong Minh, The Saigon Times Weekly, No. 238. Issue #26: The hero of Phu Dong, ADT Issue #27: The genie of Ta?n Vie^n, ADT Issue #28: The magic crossbow, ADT Issue #29: The legend of tra^`u cau, ADT - September 6, 1996. =================================================================== The legeng of tra^`u cau Adapted by AnDinhTon During the Hung Vuong dynasty, there were the identical twin brothers Ta^n and Lang. They lived together after their parents passed away. Then one day Ta^n fell in love with a girl by the name of Phu`, and they got married. Lang did not want to live far from his brother, so he built a small house next to the big house of their parents, that Tan and his wife now lived in. Phu would cook for the two brothers. They shared the tasks of farming and frequently went hunting together. One hot day, after a long hunt, Lang decided to go home early. He took the birds that they have shot with him back home while Tan continued hunting for a while longer. Lang took the birds into the kitchen of the big house and left them on the kitchen table. Since he felt really tired, he stretched down on the bed of his brother and fell asleep. Phu came back from the market and feeling tired and seeing her husband asleep decided to share the bed with him. She fell asleep next to Lang. When Lang woke up, he found his brother's wife asleep next to him. He felt ashamed to have slept with his brother's wife and blamed himself for having fallen asleep in his brother's bed. He did not blame Phu because he understood that she could have easily mistaken him. He decided since he has dishonored his brother that he should leave never to return. So, he silently got out of bed and left. Ashamed about what happened, he wandered deep in the forest. After a few days of wandering, he felt down from exhaustion and died. His body turned into a lime (vo^i) rock. When Tan came back from hunting, his wife woke up and asked where did he go to be so tired, why did he not stay in bed and rest on such a hot day. He was very surprised by the questions and after a few questions of his own, he realized the mistake that happened. He ran out to his brother's house but could not find him. A few days later, he realized that his brother has left their village to avoid the shame of the mistake. So, he set out to find Lang. After wandering many days in the forest looking for Lang, Tan felt down from exhaustion at the base of the lime rock that was the body of his brother. He passed away and became a tall areca palm tree (ca^y cau). Phu in remorse over her mistake waiting impatiently for the return of her husband and his brother. Days passed by. She decided to go and look for her husband. After wandering the forest for days, she also felt exhausted on a lime rock next to an areca palm. And she died and became a betel vine (ca^y tra^`u) that would creep up and entwine the palm tree. King Hung Vuong (one of many) passed by the location on a tour of his kingdom. He was told the legend of the rock, the palm tree and the vine. He asked his court if there was a way to prove the veracity of the legend. One of his minister suggested a blood test since the blood of related people will mix. So, chunks of the lime rock, nuts of the palm tree and the leaves of the vine were ground and mixed together. From the mixture came a red liquid that looks like blood. The King thus was satisfied that the legend was true. People in recognition of the couple's devotion to each other decided to use the betel and acacia nut as a wedding gift. Thus, tra^`u cau has become a traditional gift from the groom's family in Vietnamese wedding ceremonies.